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Chapter Two Literature Review


Chapter Two
Literature Review

2.1 Introduction
Nowadays, most countries are looking forward at reducing pollution; one of
the best solutions is utilizing waste product into recycling materials. This not
only can develop sustainable environmental management, but also
introducing new materials for public usage (Ahmad and Noor, 2012).
The introduction of the concept of sustainability has enabled the utilization
of industrial and agricultural waste in the construction industry to replace
conventional construction materials, such as coarse aggregate, sand and
cement. This has led to green and sustainable construction by reducing the
cost of the production of construction materials and waste management (Yap
et al., 2013).

2.2 Solid Waste Management

Solid waste is the unwanted or useless solid materials generated from
combined residential, industrial and commercial activities in a accustomed
area. It may be categorized according to its origin (domestic, industrial,
commercial, construction or institutional); according to its contents (organic
material, glass, metal, plastic, paper, etc); or according to its hazard potential
(toxic, non-toxin, flammable, radioactive, infectious…etc) (Tchobanoglous
and Kreith, 2002).
Waste treatment techniques seek to transform the waste into a form that is
more manageable, reduce the volume or reduce the toxicity of the waste
therefore making the waste easier to be disposed off. Treatment methods are
selected based on the composition, quantity, and form of the waste material.
Some waste treatment methods being used today include subjecting the waste
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to extremely high temperatures, dumping on land or land filling and use of
biological processes to treat the waste. Management of solid waste reduces or
eliminates adverse impacts on the environment and human health, supports
economic development and improved quality of life. Solid waste should be
managed through a number of activities: waste prevention, recycling,
composting, controlled burning or landfilling. Using a combination of these
activities together in a way that best protects the community and the local
environment is referred to as integrated solid waste management (ISWM)
(Tchobanoglous and Kreith, 2002).

2.2.1 Integrated Solid Waste Management:

Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) is a comprehensive waste
prevention, recycling, composting, and disposal program. An effective ISWM
system considers how to prevent, recycle, and manage solid waste in ways
that most effectively protect human health and the environment. ISWM
involves evaluating local needs and conditions, and then selecting and
combining the most appropriate waste management activities for those
conditions (EPA, 2002).
 Waste minimization: An important method of waste management is the

prevention of waste material being created, also known as waste

reduction (Mcleod, 2009).
 Recycling: The process of extracting resources or value from waste is

generally referred to as recycling, meaning to recover or reuse the

material (Mcleod, 2009). Reuse of materials involves either the
voluntary continued use of a product for the a purpose for which it may
not have been originally intended, such as the reuse of coffee cans for
holding nails, or the extended use of a product, such as retreating
automobile tires. In materials reuse the product does not return to the

Chapter Two Literature Review
industrial sector, but remains within the public or consumer sector.
Briefly the waste is reused within the production process itself.
Recycling is the collection of a product by the public and the return of
this material to the industrial sector. This is very different from reuse,
where the material doesn’t return for manufacturing. Examples of
recycling are the collection of newspapers and aluminum companies
and the remanufacture and sale of recycled paper and aluminum cans.
The recycling process requires the participation of the public, since the
public must perform the separation step. Recycling can happen at the
plant (Texas water commission, 1993; Pierce et al., 1998).

Attitude toward recycling are changing, however, partly because of

concern for the environment and partly for economic reasons. The
rising costs and decreased availability of land for sanitary landfills,
coupled with rapidly increasing costs for energy and raw materials,
have created pressures in many areas for more resource recovery. As a
result, many towns are considering recycling methods which can be
included in their solid waste management system. The most common
materials that are recycled are bone, paper, plastic, aluminum; glass…
etc (Bishop et al., 1980; Cameron, 1988).

 Incineration: Incineration is a disposal method that involves the

destruction of solid, liquid, or gaseous wastes by controlled burning at

high temperatures. Burning destroys organics, reduces the volume of
waste, and vaporizes water and other liquids the wastes may contain.
Incineration is sometimes described as "thermal treatment".
Incinerators transform waste materials into heat, gas, steam, and ash. It
is known as a practical method of disposing of certain hazardous waste
materials (such as biological medical waste). Incineration is a

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controversial method of waste disposal, due to issues such as emission
of gaseous pollutants (McLeod, 2009).
 Composting: is another form of recycling, the controlled aerobic

biological decomposition of organic matter, such as food scraps and

plant matter, into humus, and a soil-like material. Compost acts as a
natural fertilizer by providing nutrients to the soil, increasing beneficial
soil organisms, and suppressing certain plant diseases, thereby reducing
the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides in landscaping and
agricultural activities (EPA, 2002).
 Combustion: Combustion is the controlled burning of waste in a

designated facility to reduce its volume and, in some cases, to generate

electricity. Combustion is an ISWM option for wastes that cannot be
recycled or composted, and is also used where landfill space is limited.
The combustion process can generate toxic air emissions, thus
installing control equipment such as acid gas scrubbers and fabric
filters in combustors to control the toxic air emissions (EPA, 2002).
 Landfilling: Uncontrolled dumping of waste can contaminate
groundwater and soil, attract disease carrying rats and insects, and even
cause fires. Properly designed, constructed, and managed landfills
provide a safe alternative to uncontrolled dumping. For example, to
protect groundwater from the liquid that collects in landfills (leachate),
a properly designed landfill has an earthy or synthetic liner. As the
waste decomposes, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas that can also
cause fires. To prevent fires, a properly designed landfill should have a
way to vent, burn, or collect methane. Landfill operators can also
recover this methane thereby reducing emissions and generate
electricity from the captured gas (EPA, 2002).

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2.3 Potential Environmental Impacts of Solid Waste

Management Activities
The most adverse environmental impacts of solid waste management are
based on inadequate or incomplete collection and recovery of recyclable or
reusable wastes, as well as co-disposal of hazardous wastes. These impacts
are also due to inappropriate siting, design, operation, or maintenance of
dumps and landfills. Improper waste management activities can: (EGSSAA,
Increase disease transmission or otherwise threatens public health
 Generate greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants.

.Discourages tourism and other business

The lack of available landfill and the increasing costs of operating landfill
sites, and other disposal methods such as incineration have resulted in a move
to reduce the volume of solid waste with cement and aggregate to achieve the
following aims (Hamernik and Frantz, 1991):
 Reducing the amount of generating solid waste.
 This process sounds economic due to replacing one of the concrete
constituents (aggregate or cement) by a certain type of solid waste.
 Improving concrete quality.

2.4 Concrete
The Assyrians and Babylonians used clay as the bonding substance or
cement. The Egyptians used lime and gypsum cement. In 1824, English
inventor, Joseph Aspdin, invented Portland cement; he created the first true
artificial cement by burning ground limestone and clay together, which has
remained the dominant cement used in concrete production. The burning
process changed the chemical properties of the materials and Joseph Aspdin

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created stronger cement than that which uses plain crushed limestone would
produce (Babor et al., 2009).
Concrete is a component used in building construction, consisting of a hard,
chemically inert particular matter, known as an aggregate (different types of
sand and gravel), that is bound together with cement and water. It is used for
various constructional purposes such as in buildings and their components,
roads, water retaining structures, air fields, docks and harbors because of its
exceptional qualities. It has numerous advantages over other construction
materials (Babor et al., 2009).

2.4.1 Advantages of Concrete:

The advantages of concrete are as follows (Mehta and Monteiro, 2001;

Etges, 2008):

 Concrete possesses a high compressive strength and is not subjected to

weathering effects.
 Concrete can be easily handled and molded into any shape.

 Concrete can even be sprayed on and filled into fine cracks for repairs

by Guniting process.

 In reinforced cement concrete (R.C.C); concrete and steel form a very

good combination because the coefficient of expansion of concrete and

steel is nearly equal.

 Construction of all types of structures is possible by reinforcing the

concrete with steel. Even earthquake-resistant structures can be


 Cinder concrete can be used as a soundproofing material.

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 Where strength is not a main requirement, but fire-resistance,

insulation and lightweight are major considerations, lightweight

concrete is advantageous.

 The concrete can be pumped and hence it can be laid in difficult


 Formwork can be used a number of times for similar jobs which results

in the economy.

 Concrete is efficient and economical in the long run as compared to

other engineering materials.

 Frequent repairs are not needed for concrete structures and the

concrete gains strength with age.

2.4.2 Disadvantages of Concrete:

Besides being an ideal construction material, it does have the following

disadvantages (Mehta and Monteiro, 2001; Etges, 2008):

 Concrete possesses low tensile strength and hence cracks easily. Thus,

concrete is to be reinforced with mild steel bars, high tensile steel bars
or mesh.
 Concrete expands and contracts with the changes in temperature.

Therefore, expansion joints are to be provided to avoid the formation of

cracks due to thermal movements
 Fresh concrete shrinks on drying. It also expands and contracts with

wetting and drying. Provision of contraction joints is to be made to

avoid the formation of cracks due to drying shrinkage and moisture
 Concrete is not completely impervious to moisture and contains soluble

salts which may cause efflorescence. This requires special care at the
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 Concrete prepared by using ordinary Portland cement disintegrates by

the action of sulfates, etc. Special types of cements are to be used under
such circumstances.
 Concrete is heavy in weight and requires large quantities of steel in the

construction as the self load is greater.

 Creep developments in concrete under sustained loads and this factor is

to take care of while designing dams and pre-stressed concrete


2.5 Environmental Impacts of Concrete

The world’s yearly cement production of 1.6 billion tons accounts for about
7% of the global loading of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Portland
cement, the principal hydraulic cement in use today, is not only one of the
most energy-intensive materials of construction but also is responsible for a
great amount of greenhouse gases. Producing a ton of Portland cement
requires about 4GJ energy and Portland cement clinker manufacture release
approximately 1 ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (Mehta, 2001).
Furthermore, mining large quantities of raw materials such as limestone and
clay, and fuel such as coal, often results in extensive deforestation and top-soil
loss. Ordinary concrete typically contains about 12% cement and 80%
aggregate by mass. This means that globally, for concrete making, we are
consuming sand, gravel, and crushed rock at the rate of 10 to 11 billion tons
every year.
The mining, processing, and transport operations involving such large
quantities of aggregate consume considerable amounts of energy, and
adversely affect the ecology of forested areas and river beds. Large quantities
of fresh water are being used as wash-water by the ready-mixed concrete
industry and for curing concrete (Malhotra, 1999, and Mehta, 1999).

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2.5.1 Environmental Concerns of Cement and Concrete Production:

1. Energy:
Energy consumption is the most significant environmental concern with
cement and concrete production. Cement production is one of the most
energy exhaustive of all industrial manufacturing processes. Including
direct fuel use for mining and transporting raw materials, cement
production takes about six million (British thermal unit) Btus for every
ton of cement.
Energy use of concrete production looks considerably better than it does
for cement. Because of the other components of concrete sand, crushed
stone and water are much less energy intensive, (Wilson, 1993).
2. CO2 Emission:
There are two very different sources of carbon dioxide emissions during
cement production. Combustion of fossil fuels to run the rotary kiln is the
largest source: approximately 3/4 tons of CO2 per ton of cement. But the
chemical process of calcining limestone into lime in the cement kiln also
produces CO2.This chemical process is responsible for about 1/4 ton of
CO2 per ton of cement.
The most significant way to reduce CO 2 emissions is enhancing the
energy efficiency of the cement kiln operation such as changing to lower-
CO2 fuels such as natural gas and agricultural waste (peanut hulls, etc.)
can also reduce emissions (Wilson, 1993).
3. Other emissions:
In addition to CO2, both cement and concrete production generate
extensive quantities of air-pollutant emissions. Dust is usually the most
visible of these pollutants. Other sources of dust from cement production
are handling raw materials, grinding cement clinker, and packaging or
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loading finished cement. In addition to dust produced in cement
manufacturing, dust is also generated in concrete production and
transport. Common sources are sand and aggregate mining, material
transfer, storage (wind erosion from piles), mixer loading, and concrete
delivery (dust from unpaved roads). Dust emissions can be controlled
through water sprays, hoods, curtains, enclosures, and covered chutes
(Wilson, 1993).
4. Water Pollution:
Another environmental issue with the greatest concern is water
pollution, used in cement production and concrete mix. Wash-out water
with a high pH is the number one environmental issue for the ready mix
concrete industry. Highly alkaline water is toxic to fish and other aquatic
life (Wilson, 1993).
5. Solid Waste:
While the cement and concrete industries can help limit some of our
solid waste problems like burning hazardous waste as cement kiln fuel
and using fly ash in concrete mixtures, one cannot overlook the fact that
concrete is the largest and most visible component of construction and
demolition waste (Wilson, 1993).

2.6 The Properties of Concrete

2.6.1 Workability and consistency of Concrete

Workability is related to the ease with which a concrete can be transported,
placed and solidified without too much bleeding or segregation. Consistence
of concrete mix is the degree of wetness; within limits, wet concrete has
better workability than dry concrete, but the same consistency of concrete
could differ in workability.

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Since the strength of concrete is considerably affected by the existence of
voids in the compacted mix, it is important to achieve a maximum possible
density that requires sufficient workability. Occupancy of voids in concrete
mix decreases the density and greatly decreases the strength: 5% of voids can
reduce the strength by 30% (Shetty, 2005).
Slump test is used to determine the workability of concrete and also is
useful for detecting the variations in the uniformity of concrete mix. The
value of a slump, it changes with temperature and with time after mixing
(Neville and Brooks, 2011).
Factors affecting concrete workability (Neville and Brooks, 2011):
1. Water content or water cement ratio: the workability is increased by
increasing w/c ratio, excessive water content causes bleeding of
2. Amount and type of aggregate:

 Round smooth aggregate increases the workability, while angular

and rough aggregate cause reduction in workability.

 The greater size of aggregate means less water is required; the

excess water is available for workability.

3. Aggregate cement ratio: increasing the ratio means less cement (less
water) so the concrete mix is stiff which indicates that the workability
is low.

4. Weather conditions:
 Temperature: high temperature causes increasing the evaporation,
hence the workability decreases.
 Wind: high wind velocity causes increased in the rate of evaporation
which decreases the water content causing reduction in workability.

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5. Admixtures: using chemical admixtures in concrete increases
workability, mobility and reduces bleeding, segregation.
6. Sand to aggregate ratio: increase the quantity of sand causes the
workability to reduce because of sand has more surface area and
contact area which acquires more resistance.
Generally, incorporation of natural fiber decreases the workability and
increases the void content due to entrapment of additional air. The
decrease in workability is basically due to absorption, surface area, size
and shape of the fiber in relation to the other constituent particles in the
mixture (Aziz and Lee, 1986).
The addition amount of fibers is limited by the phenomenon of balling,
which occurs when large volumes of the fractions are used, and results in
unworkable and segregated mixture, which lead to variation in properties
between specimens from the same mixture as a result of non-uniform
distribution of the fibers (Aziz et al., 1981).

The usage of super-plasticizer increases compressive strength and

workability of concrete. The purposes of using super-plasticizers are to
improve the aspects of concrete performance, or to keep the same level of
performance (Malagavelli and Paturu, 2012).

2.6.2 Concrete Strength

The strength of concrete is known as the maximum load (stress) it can bear.
While the strength of concrete increases, the other properties of concrete
normally improve. The compressive strength is usually used in the building
industry for the goal of standards and quality control reported by Jackson and
Dhir, (1996) as cited by Al-Hashmi, (2006).
Strength of concrete is generally considered as the most important property,
for the purposes of structural design outlined by Krishnaswamy et al., (1985)
as cited by Al-Hashmi, (2006).
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The compressive strength is measured by breaking cylindrical or cubical
concrete specimens in a compression testing machine; the compressive
strength is calculated from the failure load divided by the cross-sectional area
resisting the load (ASTM C39/C39M, 2001).
2.6.3 Flexural Strength
Flexural strength is an object’s ability to bend without obtaining any major
deformities; it is an evaluation of an unreinforced concrete beam or slab to
resist failure in bending (What is flexural strength, 2014).
A plain concrete beam without reinforcement is subjected to flexural using
two-point loading until failure occurs, because the load points are spaced at
one-third of the span, the test called a three-point loading (Neville, 2000).
The flexural strength is expressed as Modulus of Rupture (MR) in psi (MPa)
and is determined by third-point loading standard test method according to
ASTM C-78 and center-point loading standard test method according to ASTM
2.6.4 Splitting Tensile Strength
Splitting tensile strength is a concrete cylinder positioned horizontally in the
testing machine, and the load increased until failure by indirect tension in the
form of splitting along the vertical diameter happened. Splitting tensile
strength is usually more than direct tensile strength and less than flexural
strength (modulus of rupture). This test is used to estimate the shear resistance
provided by concrete and to determine the increasing length of reinforcement
according to ASTM C496 / C496M-11 (Neville, 2000).

2.6.5 Impact Resistance

Test methods were developed to determine the resistance of concrete

subjected to low velocity single and repeated impact to failure, and to higher
velocity small projectiles. These performance tests were used to evaluate the
effects of reinforcing concrete with one or more of the following

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reinforcement types: fibers, rebars, or expanded metal. Concretes with and
without latex were included. The results indicate that, in general, increases in
the impact resistance were obtained with increases in the compressive
strength. For the single- and repeated-impact to failure tests, the type of
reinforcement used also affects the impact resistance (Clifton and Knab,

Fibers 2.7
The first use of fibers in reinforced concrete has been dated to 1870’s. Since
then, the researchers around the world have been interested in improving the
tensile properties of concrete by adding wood, iron and other wastes (Naaman
and Harajli, 1990).
In addition to industrial fibers, natural, organic and mineral fibers have been
also investigated in reinforced concrete. Wood, sisal, jute, bamboo, coconut,
asbestos and rock wool, are examples that have been used and investigated
(Zhu and Tobias, 1994; Al Rim et al., 1999; Savastano Jr. et al., 2008).
Fiber reinforced concrete has become the subject of many investigations
since 1980’s. A large number of studies are being implemented on the various
types of loading as well as various sizes and shapes in fiber reinforced
concrete with steel, plastic and glass fibers used as reinforcement. However,
this reinforcement is specially manufactured and it costs unfavorable (Ahmad
.and Noor, 2012)
2.7.1 Fiber-reinforced Concrete:
Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world and
steel reinforcement is always desired to meet tensile strength and ductility
requirements of concrete structures. The production of concrete and
reinforced concrete structures creates lots of environmental issues associated
with the significant release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Besides, the

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corrosion of steel reinforcement is one of the biggest challenges that current
civil engineers are facing. Thus, it is urgent to promote sustainable concrete
and structures to reduce their negative impact on the environment (Yan and
Chouw, 2014).
The concrete is the most components used in construction. However, its
fragile still a handicap of its mechanical performance that is why it is armed
with steel bars taking tensile strength. This material adapted with difficulties
to desert climatic characterized by hot dry environment. Its mechanical
properties, particularly the flexural strength, decrease with time under those
similar climatic conditions. Furthermore the conventional concrete presented
a high level of shrinkage and cracking in hot dry environment. The
reinforcement of concretes by fibers can offer some technical solutions for the
.enhancement of their mechanical properties resistance (Abani et al., 2008)
The use of fibers in concrete became more and more current practice in
rehabilitation of structures and the applications are more and more developed.
That is due to the capacity of this new composite material (concretes
reinforced by fiber) to limit and to control the cracks, to improve the flexural
and tensile strengths as well as to enhance the shock resistance (Abani et al.,
Concrete contains numerous flaws and micro-cracks. The rapid propagation
of micro cracks under applied load is considered responsible for the low
tensile strength of the material. It is reasonable to assume that tensile as well
as flexural strength of concrete can be substantially increased by introducing
closely spaced fibers. These fibers would arrest the propagation of micro
cracks, thus delaying the onset of tensile cracks and increasing the tensile
strength of the material (Yin and Hsu, 1995).
Addition of fibers can increase strength and also reduce plastic shrinkage
and drying shrinkage by arresting the propagation of cracks. The development
of steel reinforcement has overcome the problem of poor tensile strength.

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However it doesn’t completely solve the problem of micro cracks due to
drying and plastic shrinkage owing to weathering conditions. This led to the
study of research on various methods to adopt fibers as reinforcement with
different fiber types. Addition of steel reduced the micro cracks, but over a
long period, steel gets corroded due to various actions. This made the need for
enlightenment of usage of various organic and inorganic fibers which are eco
friendly and economic (Vajje and Murthy, 2013).
For health and economic reasons the researchers are actually oriented
toward the reinforcement of concretes by vegetal fibers, notably for countries
that have these fibers in abundant amounts (Abani et al, 2008).

2.7.2 Types of Fiber in Concrete:

1. Steel Fibers: is basically a cheaper and easier to use form of rebar reinforced
concrete. Rebar reinforced concrete utilizes steel bars that are laid within the
paste cement, which requires a great deal of prep work but make for a lot
stronger concrete. This imparts the concrete with greater structural strength
reduces cracking and helps protect against extreme cold. Steel fiber is often
used in conjunction with rebar or one of the other fiber types (Kene et al.,
2. Glass Fibers: fiberglass is used in Glass fiber-reinforced concrete. The glass
fiber helps insulate the concrete and to make it stronger. Glass fiber is also
used to keep the concrete from cracking over time due to mechanical or
thermal stress. Besides, the glass fiber does not interfere with radio signals
like the steel fiber reinforcement does (Kene et al., 2012).
3. Synthetic Fibers: plastic and nylon fibers are used in synthetic fiber-
reinforced concrete to enhance the concrete's strength. The benefits of using
synthetic fibers over the other fibers are they help improving the cement
pumping ability by keeping it from sticking in the pipes; they help preventing
of cracking because the synthetic fibers do not expand in heat or contract in
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the cold. Also, synthetic fibers help keeping the concrete from spalling during
impacts or fires (Laning, 1992).
4. Natural Fibers: In the past, natural fibers are used in fiber-reinforced
concrete, like hay or hair. Even though natural fibers increase the concrete's
strength, but they can also make it weaker if excessive are used. Basically,
natural fibers are of two types; Natural inorganic fibers such as Basalt,
Asbestos… etc and the others are the natural organic fibers such as coconut,
palm, kenaf, jute, sisal, banana, pine, sugar cane, bamboo… etc. According
to the study of natural organic fibers compared to natural inorganic fibers,
vegetable fibers) natural organic) are renewable, eco-friendly, economical and
production cost is also very low (Vajje and Murthy, 2013).

2.8 Natural Fibers

Natural fibers are subdivided based on their origins, for example
vegetable/plants, animals, or minerals. Vegetable or plant fibers include bast
or stem fibers, leaf or hard fibers, seed, fruit, wood, cereal straw and other
grass fibers. Plants can stand up because of cellulose and lignin. Structural
materials in animals are mainly made of proteins such as collagen, elastin and
keratin in combination with various polysaccharides, calcium minerals (in
bone and teeth) or complex phenolic compounds (in hard insect cuticles).
Mineral fibers are naturally occurring fiber or slightly modified fiber procured
from minerals. Mineral fibers such as asbestos fibers had been used
historically for insulating houses. However, since January 1997, to provide
protection of workers and consumers, the manufacture and transformation of
asbestos fibers became forbidden (Bin Jusoh, 2008).
2.8.1 Treatment of Natural Fiber
Mechanical properties of natural fiber composites are less than the synthetic
fiber composites because of the inherent hydrophilic nature of plant fibers

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which usually leads to poor interfacial adhesion with hydrophobic polymer
matrices, in order to improve the fiber and matrix adhesion and to improve
the mechanical properties, surface modification of natural cellulosic fiber is
required by physical and chemical treatment (AlMaadeed et al., 2013).
It is important to understand the physical and chemical properties of natural
fibers in order to use them as reinforcement in composite materials. There are
many types of treatments used to improve the fiber surface to modify the
strength of the fiber–matrix interface which provides an effective
improvement on mechanical and physical properties of composites (Hossain
et al., 2011).
It is significant to recognize the change in the fiber structure after the
treatment which is influenced by the morphology, type, and processing
conditions (Kushwaha and Rakesh, 2011). Physical Treatment
The physical treatment of natural fiber includes washing the fibers with tap
water for several times in order to remove part of soluble substances as well
as residues and dust at fiber surface and air dry the washed fibers and then
manually cutting the fibers to the desired length.
Soaking in hot water at 50 ºC for 24 hours to remove carbohydrates,
followed by soaking in tap water before mixing for 24 hours, then air dried at
room temperature to obtain fiber in saturated surface dry condition to avoid
loss of water reaction by absorbing into fiber (Al-Noaimy, 2001).
Raw samples of the date palm male and female leaves were removed from
stems and preserved in two bags. The date palm leaves, washed with tap
water and manually disassemble into bundles of single fibers. The bundled
fibers were dried at room temperature before being cut to the desired length
using a sharp blade (AlMaadeed et al., 2013).
From the foliage sheath, the leaves and leaf stem were removed and the seat
is dried for 3 days in the shade. In the next step, it was immersed in water

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retting tank for 3 weeks, followed by hand rubbing and rinsing in water till
the undesired greasy material was dissolved and finer fiber was extracted.
Finally, the extracted fiber once again washed thoroughly with plenty of clean
water to remove the surplus waste. Continuous fiber was obtained with length
up to 1.5 m. The obtained fiber was dried under the sun for 1 week. The
average diameter of the fiber used for the composite preparation was between
0⋅2 and 0⋅3 mm (Goud and Rao, 2011). Chemical Treatment
Alkali treatment can remove hemicelluloses, lignin and all waste substances
and produce a rough surface topography (Merlin et al., 2011).
Various alkaline solutions are used to investigate the durability of date palm
fibers: calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2, sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and Lawrence
solution which consists of a mixture of calcium, potassium and sodium
hydroxides. The mechanism of Ca(OH)2 attack is dispersed, while, the
mechanism of NaOH attack is local. For the crystallization of lime in the
pores of the fibers in Ca(OH)2 solution the flexibility of the fibers was
reduced. That is a probable explanation for why the tensile strength and
elongation of fibers in Ca(OH)2 solution are less than those in NaOH solution.
It seems that the rate of degradation of fibers in Ca(OH) 2 solution is
approximately ten times more than that in NaOH solution (Kriker et al.,
Alawar et al. (2009) investigated the treatment of Date Palm fibers (DPF)
with Sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid, at various concentrations.
First, the fibers were soaked in 5%, 2.5%, 1.5%, 1%, and 0.5% NaOH at
100ºC for 1 hour. As well as, in the second treatment the fibers were soaked in
0.3, 0.9 or 1.6N HCl at 100ºC for 1 hour. At the end of treatment process
fibers cooled to room temperatures, rinsed with fresh water, and dried in oven
at 60 ºC for 24 hours. Alkali and acetylation treatment applied to DPF and
fibers show different properties compare to different types of treatment

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methods used. Soda treated fibers showed significant increase in tensile
strength and considerable improvement in surface morphology. Hydrochloric
acid treatment is rejected as fiber treatment due to its negative impact on the
tensile strength and surface morphology of the DPF. Thermal analysis of DPF
shows resistance up to about 260ºC and soda treated fibers show better
thermal resistance compared to raw fibers.
Scanning electron microscope (SEM) micrographs show that using soda
treatment clears the fiber surface from a large amount of impurities and cause
fibrillation. SEM micrographs show that as soda concentration increases,
number of pores increases on the fiber surface. This might be attributed to the
severity of a reaction that increases as the soda concentration increases. On
the other hand, SEM micrographs show a huge distortion in surface
morphology after applying HCl treatment. This might be attributed to the acid
attack on fiber surface, as HCl normality increases the surface distortion
increases (Hill et al., 1998).
In addition, soda treatment is known to enhance the thermal resistance of
natural fibers (Bledzki and Gassan, 1999). Mohanty et al., 2000 observed that
soda treated fibers provide a higher resistance to thermal degradation than raw
fibers. Soda treated is well known to remove natural and artificial impurities,
producing a rough surface topography and making fiber fibrillation.

2.8.2 The Advantage and Disadvantage of Natural Fibers in

The importance of vegetable fibers is their availability in many countries
with agriculturally based economies. Several researchers confirm that the
presence of fibers in concretes improves their cracking strengths, toughness
and post-cracking performance. But, the use of these vegetable fibers in
concretes is restricted by the problems of durability in an alkaline
environment (Dunstan, 1986).
Chapter Two Literature Review
In recent years, there have been much interest in natural leaves and fibers,
which are comprised of cellulose, due to their light weight, high performance,
availability, low cost, nonabrasive, nontoxic and biodegradable properties
(Ratna and Mohana, 2011).
Natural fibers have proven to suitable reinforcement materials due to
environmental concerns with recyclability and environmental safety with
good physical properties reported by Sreenivasan et al., (2011); Sanjay et al.,
(2011) as cited by Al Maadeed et al., (2013).
The major advantage of fiber reinforcement is to impart additional energy
absorbing capability and to transform a brittle material into a pseudo ductile
material. Fibers in cement or in concrete serve as crack arrestor which can
create a stage of slow crack propagation and a gradual failure outlined by
Swamy and Mangat, (1975) as cited by Ismail, (2006).
Natural fibers possess many properties such as bio-degradability,
renewability, combustibility, lower durability, excellent mechanical
properties, low density and low price. These properties are very important for
the acceptance of natural fibers in large volume engineering markets, such as
.the automotive and construction industries (Samuel et al., 2012)
The limitations of using natural fibers include high moisture absorption,
lack of good interfacial adhesion with plastics, low thermal resistance, and
differences in types of the trees (Venkateswaran et al., 2013).

2.9 Palm Tree

The palm family (Arecaceae) comprised of 183 genera and over 2,400
species, and has a worldwide distribution between 44° north and south
latitudes, (Govaerts and Dransfield, 2005). Five major palm species are
domesticated fully and are grown as economic species: areca or betel nut
palm (Areca catechu), peach palm (Bactris gasipaes), coconut palm (Cocos
.nucifera), oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) and date palm (Phoenix dactylifera)
Chapter Two Literature Review
Date palm is the second only to the coconut with regard to being a source of
numerous useful products, but among the palms it holds the distinction of
having the greatest number of names cultivars on the basis of fruit
characteristics (Johnson, 2012).
2.9.1 The Uses of Palm Tree Waste:
1) The oil palm industry uses empty palm oil fruit bunches as fuel to
generate electrical energy and produce a fine ash with industrial uses.
2) Coconut plantation operations use pruned leaves and unwanted husks
as fertilizer for the plantation or burned to generate energy (Johnson,
3) Areca fruit husks represent about 70% of the entire fruit and research
has shown that the material has potential use in making hard board,
latex-bound fabric, pulp and paper and as a source of furfural, an
industrial chemical compound. Husks can also be used directly as
4) Other tree products include the leaves for thatch; the large leaf sheaths
made into biodegradable plates, sandals; also suitable for plyboard and
panels. Dead pruned leaves serve as mulch and fertilizer (Bavappa et
al., 1982; Bhat and Nair, 1989).
5) Using oil palm trunk fibers as concrete reinforcement (Ahmad et al.,
6) Palm oil mills generate Palm kernel shell ash (PKSA) as byproducts.
PKSA is used as partial replacement of cement because it has
pozzolanic properties and also plays an important role in the strength
and durability of concrete (Olutoge et al., 2012).

2.9.2 Date Palm Tree

The date palm Phoenix dactylifera, a tropical and subtropical tree,
belonging to the family Palmae (Arecaceae) is one of mankind’s oldest
Chapter Two Literature Review
cultivated plants, and in the Arabian Peninsula it has played an important role
in the day-to-day life of the people in the last 7000 years (Ahmed et al.,
1995). Iraq is the biggest world producer of dates with more than 21 million
date palm trees and an annual production of about 400,000 tons of the fruit
(Bhansali, 2010).
Date palm trees are providing necessary food for millions of people in the
world, specifically in North Africa and the Middle East Asia region. These
countries grow 62 million of the 105 million trees available worldwide on an
area of over a million hectares. It is a feather palm, characterized by
compound leaves with a series of leaflets on each side of a common petiole,
originating from one growing point at the apex (Zaid and De Wet, 2002).
It is composed of a fleshy pericarp and seed. Date palm usually begins to
bear fruit within an average of 5–8 years after planting. They reach their
maturity at around 30 years and their decline begins only after 100 years of
cultivation. It has always played an important part in the economic and social
lives of the people of these regions. Date palm is possibly the most ancient
cultivated tree in the world. The exact origin of the date palm is considered to
be lost in antiquity. Still, it is believed that the date palm was cultivated as
early as 4000 B.C. More proof of the great antiquity of the date palm is in
Egypt’s Nile Valley, where it was used as the symbol for a year in Egyptian
hieroglyphics and its frond as a symbol for a month (Dowson, 1982).
Today worldwide production, utilization and industrialization of dates are
continuously increasing since date fruits have attained huge importance in
human nutrition due to their rich content of essential nutrients. Tons of date
palm fruit wastes are discarded daily by the date processing industries leading
to environmental problems. Wastes such as date pits represent an average of
10% of the date fruits. Thus, there is an urgent need to find suitable
applications for this waste (Chandrasekaran and Bahkali, 2013).

Chapter Two Literature Review
The date palm fiber is one of the common waste leaves and abundantly
available in the Middle East countries. The wide variety of date palm trees in
the region and the fact that such leaves need to be removed annually make
them a renewable source. These leaves can be used as reinforcement when
combined with glass fiber in many hybrid composites reported by Abu-
Sharkh and Hamid, (2004); Al-Kaabi et al., (2005) as cited by Al Maadeed et
al, (2013).
Date trees produce large quantities of agricultural waste and according to
one estimate; each date tree produces about 20 kg of dry leaves yearly. Other
wastes such as date pits represent an average of 10% of the date fruits
(Barreveld, 1993).
Agriculture wastes of date trees contain cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin
and other compounds which could be used in many biological processes; they
were burned in farms, causing a serious threat to the environment (Baliga et
al., 2011).
One of the characteristics of Date palm leaf is that it doesn't fall from the
tree even after getting dry; it remains attached to the date palm tree until it is
taken out manually. This keeps it from getting lost or wasted. Nevertheless,
excess amount of date palm leaves can result in environmental risks such as
fire, bait for insects and diseases (Ali, 2008). Date Palm Waste Uses:
 The date palm provides leaves for shading, thatching and weaving into
baskets, mats, rope, hats etc.
 Midribs and petioles have utility in construction and fencing.
 Stem wood can be split or sawed into construction materials.
 All of these are also fuel sources.
 The entire date palm and date palm leaves have symbolic and ritual
significance in major religion (Barreveld, 1993; Dowson, 1962;
Dowson, 1982; Zaid, 2002).
Chapter Two Literature Review
 The trunk usually is used in construction to erect bucolic houses
(roofs). The leaves are also important to the production of paper,
cartons and glue plates (Johnson, 2012).
 (Besbes et al., 2004) used date seed oil in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals
and food products.
 (Danish et al., 2012) used date palm leaves as adsorbents for removing
the unwanted materials such as acid and basic dyes, heavy metals, and
phenolic compounds.
 The excess date seeds can serve as a potential source of energy or it can
be converted into value-added chemical products (Sait et al., 2012).
 Joardder et al., 2012 used date palm seed in a fixed bed reactor utilizing
pyrolysis technique to produce bio-oil and activated carbon.

2.10 Previous Works

Numerous studies have been conducted on using agricultural waste in
concrete mix.
Li et al. (2006) studied the mechanical and physical properties, the specific
gravity and the water absorption ratio of hemp fiber reinforced concrete
(HFRC). The addition of hemp fiber into the concrete matrix results in a
linear reduction in the specific gravity and the water absorption ratio of the
HFRC. Different mixing methods affect the mechanical and physical
performance of the HFRC composites. The compressive strength of the
HFRC is weaker when compared to the conventional concrete regardless of
the mixing method used. Wet mix has a more positive influence on the
composite’s flexural properties (flexural strength, toughness and toughness
index) than the dry mix method, possibly due to the enhanced bonding
between fiber and matrix. These properties make the HFRC more suitable for
use in such applications as pavements. Fiber content by weight is the main

Chapter Two Literature Review
factor that affects on compressive and flexural properties of HFRC, regardless
of the mixing method used.
Ismail (2006) described the effect of the addition of various volume
fractions (0-4%) of short natural fibers on the behavior of the composites. An
experimental work has been carried out to study the mechanical properties of
Roselle fiber-reinforced cement composites. The results show that the tensile
strength of composite increases about 53% for 4% fiber volume fraction while
the compressive strength decreases as the fiber volume fraction is increased.
Bani Odi (2007) studied the possibility of using olive oil wastes (husk and
ash) in non-structural concrete mixes. Resulting that when burned olive husk
is used as an additive in the concrete mix, hardening process will be faster
than concrete mix containing olive husk, because it is totally dry, due to the
high carbon content in olive ash and it is more suitable to test concrete
containing ash after two weeks due to quick hardening by effect of ash.
Ismail and AL-Hashmi (2008) studied the efficiency of reusing waste plastic
in the production of concrete. The results proved the arrest of the propagation
of micro cracks by introducing waste plastic of fiber form shapes to concrete
mixtures. This study insures that reusing waste plastic as a sand-substitution
aggregate in concrete gives a good approach to reduce the cost of materials
and solve some of the solid waste problems posed by plastics.
Ismail and AL-Hashmi (2008) examined the feasibility of reusing waste iron
as partial replacing sand in concrete. The results confirm that reuse of solid
waste materials offers an approach to solving the pollution problem, that arise
from an accumulation of waste in production site ; in the meantime modified
properties are added to concrete .
Al Rawi and Al Khafagy (2009) investigated the impact of sisal fibers and
the Iraqi Bauxite addition on the different properties of concrete. They
concluded that the sisal fiber-concrete with Iraqi bauxite showed
improvement in flexural strength, splitting tensile strength and impact

Chapter Two Literature Review
resistance with a low reduction in compressive strength and ultrasonic pulse
velocity. The results showed the water absorption of plain concrete is less
than the reference concrete reinforced with fibers only.
Alawar et al. (2009) studied the effect of two treatment process alkali
treatment and acid treatment on the date palm fiber (DPF). All treatments
were performed at 100 ºC for 1 hour. Various tests were conducted on treated
date palm fibers such as scanning electron micrographs (SEM) to study the
surface morphology, thermal gravimetry analysis (TGA) to study the
resistance of treated (DPF) to thermal degradation, Fourier transform infrared
spectroscopy (FTIR) to show the chemical analysis and Single fiber tensile
test to identify the mechanical properties. (DPF) treated with 1% NaOH gave
an optimum mechanical properties. The hydrochloric acid treatment showed
deterioration in mechanical properties of (DPF).
Ismail and AL-Hashmi (2009) investigated the properties of concrete
containing waste glass as fine aggregate. The results proved 80% pozzolanic
strength activity given by waste glass after 28 days. The flexural strength and
compressive strength of specimens with 20% waste glass content were
10.99% and 4.23%, respectively, higher than those of the control specimen at
28 days.
Mahdavi et al. (2010) investigated the chemical and mechanical properties
of all parts of date palm tree. There are significant differences among the
anatomical, physical and chemical properties of different parts of date palm
tree that could affect composites properties. SEM micrographs indicated
sufficient interfacial adhesion between filler fibers and composite matrix.
Petiole fiber has the highest aspect ratio, and its lower lignin content led to
better flexural properties of composite.
Ying (2010) investigated the use of Palm Oil Boiler Stone (POBS) as a fine
aggregate material replacement in concrete. The results indicated that a
significant improvement occured in the compressive strength property of

Chapter Two Literature Review
plain concrete by the inclusion of POBS as partial replacement of fine
Ramli and Dawood (2010) studied the properties of lightweight crushed
brick concrete containing palm fiber of different volume fractions. The
investigated tests were density, compressive strength and flexural strength.
Results showed that the inclusion of this fiber at 0.8% in light weight concrete
slightly increases the density and increases the compressive strength and
.flexural strength by 13.4 and 16.1%, respectively
Ahmad et al. (2010) investigated the potential of using oil palm trunk fiber
as concrete reinforcement. Three percentages (1%, 2% and 3%) as volume
fraction of oil palm trunk fibers were used in this study, the addition of
(OPTF) in concrete improved the compressive, tensile and flexural strength
properties with 1% as best fiber content. This improvement is due to high
tensile strength, density and content of lignin of OPTF. They concluded that
.the OPTF is suitable as reinforcement and act as crack arrester in concrete
Sivaraja et al. (2010) investigated the durability of coconut coir and bagasse
sugar cane fiber using several treatment processes to determine the
mechanical strength properties such as compressive, tensile, modulus of
rupture and flexural properties of natural fiber reinforced concrete specimens
once every 3 months for a period for 2 years under alternate wetting and
drying conditions. Resulting that at all the curing ages, both the coir and sugar
cane fibers enhance the mechanical strength properties .The rate of
increments of the strength properties is lower than conventional concrete
specimen at the later curing aging and the flexural performance of the natural
fiber reinforced concrete beam specimens do not yield much difference at the
three curing aging such as 28 days, 1 year and 2 years. They possess a little
bit different in the yielding stage only.
Oyelade ( 2011) investigated the possibility of using coconut husk ash
(CHA) as a partial replacement of cement in sandcrete block production and

Chapter Two Literature Review
concluded that the compressive strength of the ordinary Portland cement
/coconut husk ash sandcrete blocks generally decreases as the percentage of
coconut husk ash content increases. The agriculture wastes such as coconut
husk ash does not show good pozzolanic property in the production of
sandcrete blocks, Coconut husk ash addition should not exceed 5% of the
weight of cement for best results.
Awwad et al. (2011) studied the performed of a sustainable “green” concrete
material, using natural fibers such as industrial hemp, palm, and banana leaf
fibers. Such material would increase the service life and reduce the life cost of
the structure, and would have a positive effect on social life and social
economy. Test results indicated that the use of natural fibers resulted in
reducing the coarse aggregate quantity without affecting the flexural
performance of concrete. However, no clear trend was determined in the
cubes compressive strength test results.
Ismail and Al-Hashmi (2011) investigated the effect of using polyvinyl
acetate (PVA) resin manufacturing plant to totally replace the fresh water in
concrete composites, at various PVAW/C ratios of 0.30, 0.35, 0.40, and 0.45.
Results indicated a slight to moderate increase in compressive strength and
hard density values compared to those of the control concrete made with fresh
water at 7 and 28 day curing. On the contrary, a reduction in the slump values
of the PVAW-concrete was observed compared to the slump of the control
mixes. On the other hand, the waste material leaching test revealed that none
of the PVAW toxic constituents was detected.
Aka et al. (2012) concluded that Date Seed (DS) can be used as an
alternative material to crushed granite (CG) in the production of lightweight
concrete in an area where CG is not available or scarce. The research further
concluded that DS should not be used for production of concrete that will be
exposed to magnesium sulphates with concentration close to 5% or more

Chapter Two Literature Review
since this % concentration has a significant damaging effect on the concrete
when compared with CG concrete.
Olutoge et al. (2012) investigated the use of palm kernel shell ash (PKSA)
as partial replacement of cement in concrete and they concluded that the
compressive strength of PKSA-concrete is less than that of Ordinary Portland
cement (OPC) -concrete. It was quite satisfying with no risk in compressive
strength requirements for concrete mix, which will improve the reduction of
cement use in concretes, thereby decreasing the production cost.
Olusola and Umoh (2012) studied The effect of periwinkle shell ash (PSA)
as partial replacement of cement on the strengths of concrete with percentages
(0%- 40%) by weight of cement and the results showed that compressive
strength increased with the increase in curing age, but reduced as the PSA
contents increased and concluded that 10% PSA content is adequate as a
cement substitution for structural concrete.
Ahmad and Noor (2012) investigated the usage of oil palm fiber as discrete
reinforcing fiber in concrete. Fiber reinforced concrete is able to enhance its
behavior against tensile strength and toughness due to ability to absorb energy
by reinforcing fibers. The results show that the mix design of oil palm fiber
concrete added with 0.5% and 10% pulverized fly ash (PFA) replacement
gave the best compressive strength. It shows that series with using oil palm
fibers reduces workability and compressive strength, but increases the tensile
.splitting strength
Ettu et al. (2013) studied the individual use of eight agricultural by-
products as partial replacement of cement to investigate the properties of
strength of binary blended, cement-concrete made with Ordinary Portland
Cement (OPC), these natural pozzolana were namely Rice Husk Ash (RHA),
Saw Dust Ash (SDA), Oil Palm Bunch Ash (OPBA), Cassava Waste Ash
(CWA), Coconut Husk Ash (CHA), Corn Cob Ash (CCA), Plantain Leaf Ash
(PLA), and Paw-Paw Leaf Ash (PPLA). The results showed that the

Chapter Two Literature Review
compressive strength at curing age 90 days with 5-10% replacement of the
OPC in binary blending with one of each eight pozzolana was higher than the
.plain concrete
Adefemi et al. (2013) investigated the use of Date Seed (DS) as a partial
replacement of Crushed Granite (CG) in concrete mix, testing different
percentages by weight of DS as partial replacement of coarse aggregate, the
compressive strength test showed that all the percentages of DS (25%, 50%
and 75%) exception of 100% were quite acceptable with no risk in
compressive strength requirements and they found that DS can be used as
partial replacement of CG in the production of lightweight concrete.

Olaoye et al. (2013) studied the utilization of Jute, Oil palm and
Polypropylene fibers as complement in concrete; they concluded that as the
percentage of the fiber increases, the tendency of fiber to ball up becomes
higher in the water. The results showed that the optimum fiber content was
0.25% for Jute and Oil palm fibers and for Polypropylene fiber, the optimum
fiber content was 0.5%. They all increased the compressive strength as
compared to the plain concrete and had found to minimize environmental
waste pollution reasonably.

Muthusamy et al. (2013) intended to find an effective way to reuse oil palm
shell OPS waste as partial fine aggregate replacement in concrete. This study
shows that there is a promising potential for the use of crushed oil palm shell
in concrete. Replacement of crushed oil palm shell which is around 25%
would be able to produce a mix with compressive strength suitable for
application in the structural concrete material. And the mix produced has
lesser density, making it to be classified as lightweight concrete and has the
ability to be utilized as non-load bearing structure.

AlMaadeed et al. (2013) described the characterization of male and female

date palm leaves from two different cultivars, Sheshi female and unknown
Chapter Two Literature Review
male leaves. Characterization was done for both untreated and NaOH treated
date palm leaves by infrared spectroscopy, thermo gravimetric analysis and
scanning electron microscopic techniques. These leaves were treated with
different concentrations of NaOH, 0.5%, 1%, 2% and 5% (w/w). The results
of this investigation indicated that female leaves have better tensile properties
which deteriorate with the increase of the alkali. The male leaves have lower
tensile properties than female leaves and their mechanical properties are
improved slightly by NaOH treatment.

Ismail and Jaeel (2014) investigated giant reed ash (GRA) and air-dried
giant reed fibers (GRF) to partially replace sand in concrete mixes. Results
revealed that in 28 days curing, the compressive strength increased up to
7.96% and 2.47% using GRA and GRF, respectively to replace sand by 7.5%
by weight.
However, the significance of the present study is to investigate the
effectiveness of utilizing date palm wastes in concrete include leaf stem fibers
and leaf fibers as additives, date palm seed as partial replacement of sand or
gravel and leaf stem ash as partial replacement of cement each of them used
separately in the concrete mix and evaluate their potential toward the
mechanical properties of concrete.